Report says enrolment of disabled children in govt. schools under 1%

Taking stock of the implementation of the Right To Education (RTE) Act three years after it came into force, a micro study carried out in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha on inclusion of children with disabilities in government schools reveals that their enrolment in relation to all other children continues to be less than one per cent.

The study was carried out by National RTE forum member Aarth-Astha in Delhi, along with Sparc India from Uttar Pradesh and Aaina from Odisha. The study took a detailed sample of 50 children from each State to look at the reality at the grassroots level.

The study found that though in all three States, the administrative procedures were increasingly following the specifications of the Act, children with disabilities were still not being accepted in the system.

The report pointed out that children with disabilities still constituted one of the biggest groups of dropouts and often, their admissions were being stalled.

“The lack of specialist teachers, rehabilitation facilities and personnel with the school system are adding to the feeling among schools that they do not know how to teach children with disabilities,” said the report.

Parents interviewed for the study gave several reasons why their children had to drop out, including poverty, lack of facilities for special children and inadequate care in the schools.

In Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, many children with disabilities, though entitled, were not given transport facilities to attend school. In Odisha, out of the 50 school-going children, only 10 were provided an escort allowance. Parents of children who were under the home-based education programme complained that teachers did not show up at their homes.

In all three States, children were, most often, not admitted to school due to their disability. In some schools, a family member accompanied the child and sat in the school all day.

Though the RTE Act includes the right of children with disabilities to free and compulsory elementary education, and India ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities where the State is mandated to ensure inclusive education, the micro study indicates “trends that call for the attention of policy makers, organisations, educationists and activists.”

Disabled children constituted one of the biggest groups of dropouts

In some schools, a family member sat with the child in school all day

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